A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' British Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of Great Britain's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Sir Winston Churchill is often cited as Britain's greatest prime minister for leading the United Kingdom against Hitler's Nazi war machine during World War II, and indeed he was the idol of the one person who many think might have surpassed him: Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher not only became Britain's first female prime minister; she also became its longest serving prime minister.
The political precedents Thatcher set as a woman would be enough of a legacy in their own right, but Thatcher effectively wielded her power in a way that made a lasting contribution to both geopolitics and the perception of female politicians in general. Thatcher is widely credited, along with Ronald Reagan, as one of the principal Cold Warriors who brought about the demise of the Soviet Union, whose leaders gave her the famous nickname "Iron Lady". And, of course, Thatcher was recently in the spotlight again with the release of the critically acclaimed movie The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep.
With the success of that movie, Thatcher has undergone a cultural revival and reiconization in many quarters for her political stances and political achievements. At the same time, however, the role she played as a woman is now often overlooked out of the expedience of political correctness, and it is considered uncivil to analyze Thatcher's political rise through the prism of sex. In fact at times the former prime minister claimed to understand an issue better due to her sex and sometimes used her sex more subliminally.
British Legends: The Life and Legacy of Margaret Thatcher details the Iron Lady's life and career, but it also humanizes her and explores the role gender played in her rise to power and ultimately her legacy.